Edgeryders asked to curate a programme strand at the Creative Bureaucracy Festival, Berlin, 20-22 September 2019

ping @alberto @noemi @mao @hugi @johncoate @nadia

The first Creative Bureaucracy Festival took place in Berlin in September 2018 initiated by the Berlin newspaper Der Tagesspiegel (Berlin), with support from other bodies such as OECD, Eurocities, the German Government, NESTA, the Humboldt University of Berlin, The Bertelsmann Foundation, Robert Bosch Foundation, and many others. For further details see https://en.creativebureaucracy.net (Check out the short video and see the complete list of partners). This festival, first of its kind, was inspired by the work of Charles Landry and various innovators from all levels of the public sector, with the intention of creating an annual meeting point to encourage the exchange of ideas and experience between pioneers and innovators from public administrations globally. The 2018 edition of the Creative Bureaucracy Festival attracted 1200 participants from public bodies at national, regional, municipal and international levels from 21 countries, featured 165 speakers, and included topics varying from sustainability, IT and digitalisation, labour and employment, leadership and management, urban transformation and development to culture, security, education, healthcare, justice and legislation, with over 100 hours of programme taking place on 9 different stages. More than 400 young talent participants (under the age of 30) were attracted, and events included workshops, discussions, awards, parties, and a very popular "Fuck Up Night’ (featuring personal testimonials about the biggest bureaucratic ‘fuckups’. The Berlin event has inspired other cities to organise similar festivals, and these are now being planned in `Brussels, Bergen, Amsterdam, Adelaide and Athens.
I attended a meeting in Bergen at the invitation of the key stakeholders of the Berlin Creative Bureaucracy Festival, including the publisher of Der Tagesspiegel, the main initiator and sponsor, Charles Landry, and others, and was impressed by the commitment and ambition to extend the festival in 2019. I spoke about the proposal developed with UNDP for a Bureaucrat Hackers Fellowships, the UNDP Accelerator Innovation Labs, and my own ideas about creative approaches in the public sector, and how to empower and encourage those bureaucrats and civil servants working at all levels of public administrations. I know there are several people in the Edgeryders community already engaged in such work (and one, Caroline Paulick-Thiel from Politics for Tomorrow, Germany was at the meeting in Bergen).
Edgeryders has now been invited to curate a programme strand for the next Creative Bureaucracy Festival to be held in Berlin 20-22 September 2019. This could take the form of a workshop or panel discussion to share Edgeryders approaches, tools and experience; we could partner with UNDP to develop further the idea of Bureaucracy Hackers Fellowships and use this as a platform to interest potential donors and sponsors (including those already supporting the festival and the large number of Government Innovation Agencies and other networks who will be represented); we might feature individual case studies and work of the Edgeryders community. We would have complete freedom to develop this programme, and would be given the necessary facilities to help achieve this, along with significant marketing/advertising support from the festival organisers.
Would this be of value to Edgeryders? Who in Edgeryders might wish to get involved?
Is a joint UNDP/Edgeryders approach a good idea? Could the Berlin event be another launch pad to promote Edgeryders’ interest in working more closely on public sector projects with municipalities, national governments and international agencies? Who do we know working at any level of public administration (in any country) who is doing pioneering work and who might be featured as a speaker or given an award during the festival (whether or not connected to the Edgeryders community)?
We would need to develop an initial proposal by July. Interest and ideas welcome!


Bob, great work, thanks for being the best team member and ambassador we could have in that meeting!

I can see a strategic decision being taken with @alberto and Millie @elami5.

At a minimum, we could do a series of talks as a pitch for networked collaboration in the public sector: why the need for connecting heroes and community building. The festival, as well as other related initiatives like Apolitical, are probably sold on the idea of rewarding public sector innovators. Showcasing examples might not get maximum impact. What we have going uniquely is the network approach. We’d probably need to understand more wherr current programmes and conversations get stuck, and make a proposition for those at the festival to get on board with ie buy-in in the program by ER/ UNDP.

If there is enough funding available, we could organise a working day of developing further our concept note and build a roadmap using the intel and networks of those joining.

What wouldn’t work for me is to go in with a too open ended agenda, in which we talk about our current concept but don’t see a strategic way forward… We’d risk leaving the festival with more contacts but expensive follow up.

PS Hi to @caroline, glad you two met!


Thanks for quick response @noemi . Like your initial ideas. Hopefully @alberto @elami5 and others will respond. Just to clarify, there is no direct funding available to Edgeryders. The finance already raised for the festival is directed towards logistics (facililities, venues), marketing, and overall coordination/organisation. So, if additional funding is required for anything Edgeryders/UNDP develops, this needs to be self-generated. However, the Creative Bureaucracy Festival can introduce Edgeryder proposals to relevant partners/sponsors, but there is no guaranteed financing of costs linked to our programme strand. The festival is seeking major sponsors, but my guess is that this will not be in place for the 2019 event.


Yes, I kind of picked up on that. Which is why we need to make it worthwhile - PR great, but focus on conversions I think is a must for our team (I believe).

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Ok, I think I see your reasoning. We need to decide if being there is likely to get us to finally get into negotiations for financing the full-on BHF. What do we know about who is attending the festival?

There was an analysis of attendees at the 2018 event - impressive numbers for the first year but predominantly from Berlin/Germany. The aspiration for 2019 is to attract larger international interest. The organisers are not yet in a position to pay travel expenses etc, but will try to find certain partners (foundations, governments, etc) who might. There is certainly no guarantee whatever that we will get into negotiations regarding BHF. If UNDP wanted to use this platform to invite key donors or spend time ‘woo-ing’ existing partners already involved as supporters of the festival, this ‘might’ bring results. Who knows? But it will take effort! I see the event as much as an opportunity to help position Edgeryders as a player/consultant/expert to public sector bodies along the lines proposed by @noemi. The organisers (including Der Tagesspiegel) are taking a longer view (also for their own media interests) about this event, and were speaking about commitment at least over the next 5 years. As I mentioned, 1200 participants from 21 countries in 2018; possibly over 2000 from double the countries in 2019, plus attracting the interests of key public service networks and more governments. Who knows? My hunch is to get involved at minimal cost to us - and maybe access the small finance that UNDP seemed to have available for BHF to gain presence and extend the global reach.of the event.

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Would you be up for running this through @elami5, @bob? I am not sure she is checking the notifications from the platform. I can also ping her, but I was not in Bergen. That means my sense of the Landry operation is nowhere near as good as yours.

I already sent Millie an email with a copy to Mao. No reply yet.

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Hi Bob, is this happening and if so do you need help organising etc?

Hey. The festival is definitely happening 20-21 September in Berlin. @Alberto and @ Noemi were on a call with me Monday to sign off the proposal submitted to UNDP for finance (air fares, accommodation, coordination, speakers, overheads etc) with a deadline of 17 July. If finance is agreed, we’ll go ahead. I’ll lead, but welcome your help. The proposal is on the shared drive Bureaucrat Hackers. Let me know if you want to know more.

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